The Problem with Sand


The old analogy of Rocks, Pebbles and Sand is a simple way of prioritising your coaching. Start with the Rocks - the important things. Do the biggest things right first, then worry about the other things.

If you got a group of coaches together in a room most would agree with the premise of prioritising key elements, and of working hard to master them. The main difference is what different coaches consider to be the key elements.

In team sports one of the most simple distinctions coaches make is between technique and teamwork. Some would say that you only need to worry about teamwork once the technique is right, because you won't win without good enough technique. Others say that teamwork is the thing to get right first, because once you have that then the technique is easier to teach.

Another classic example for me: training hard and doing recovery. Recovery is very important, but if you spend too much time worrying about recovery, and not enough worrying about working as hard as you can, then you are not focussing on the right thing. That is when the sand is masquerading as the boulder.

As I've written before, the decisions the coach makes about what NOT to do are at least as important as what to do.

Oh, and once you think you've nailed the boulders, you can't just ignore them, because once you have the sand streaming down, it will be constantly eroding the boulders.

(Photo Credit)


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